Hyperammonemia associated with chronic liver disease (CLD) is implicated in the pathogenesis of hepatic encephalopathy (HE). The gut is a major source of ammonia (NH3) production that contributes to systemic hyperammonemia in CLD and HE and remains the primary therapeutic target for lowering systemic NH3. As a therapeutic strategy, Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 bacterium (EcN), a well characterized probiotic, was genetically modified to consume and convert NH3 to arginine (SYNARG), and its administration to thiaoacetamide-treated mice reduced NH3 levels. SYNARG was further modified to synthesize butyrate (SYNARG+BUT), a short-chain fatty acid with anti-inflammatory properties, and both strains were tested in an animal model of CLD and HE, the bile duct ligation (BDL). Methods: One week (wk) post surgery, BDL rats were gavaged with SYNARG, SYNARG+BUT (3x1011 CFU/day, BID) or vehicle until they were sacrificed at 3- or 5-weeks along with respective sham controls. Plasma NH3 and liver markers were measured at 3 and 5 wk. Recognition memory, motor coordination, muscle strength, locomotion and anxiety were assessed in the 5-week groups. Results: BDL increased NH3 over time, with levels of 109.1±9.2µM (Shams 56.7±3.5µM, p<0.001) and 150.2±25.6µM (Shams 58.3±3.0µM, p<0.001) at 3- and 5-wk, respectively. In addition, plasma liver markers ALT, AST, bilirubin, and GGT as well as liver fibrosis (hydroxyproline) were increased in BDL rats at both timepoints while albumin was lowered. As compared to BDL-Veh rats, NH3 was attenuated by SYNARG (103.9±12.3µM) and SYNARG+BUT (110.8±8.5µM) at 5, but not 3-wk post-BDL, while liver fibrosis was attenuated at 3, but not 5-wk post-BDL. None of the systemic liver markers were changed by the treatments at any timepoint. Motor coordination, muscle strength, locomotion and anxiety were affected in all BDL groups without protective effect of treatments. Short-term memory (STM) was impaired in BDL-Veh (p<0.001) and BDL-SYNARG (p<0.05) vs Shams, while STM was improved in BDL-SYNARG+BUT (p<0.05 vs BDL-Veh). Long-term memory was impaired in BDL-Veh vs Shams (p<0.05), but BDL-SYNARG and BDL-SYNARG+BUT were partially protected. Conclusion: EcN, engineered to consume NH3 in the gut, is an effective approach to lower plasma NH3 in a model of CLD and HE. Moreover, the attenuation of NH3 in BDL rats is related to a protective effect on memory in this model. The therapeutic potential of these strains should be further evaluated in patients with CLD and HE.